The 1934 pattern is too fragile to use; not suprising when it’s been folded up inside a magazine for 82 years. It has no markings except for notches and darts cut into the pattern pieces. Seam allowances of 1/2 inch are included.
I’ve started with the skirt. It’s a straight skirt with a slight flare towards the bottom but the main reason you can move in it is that there is a pleat in the centre front seam from around knee high.
I copied the pattern on to greaseproof paper and graded it up from the rather slight hip measurements of the original to mine. Plenty of ease allowed; I can always adjust when I’ve tacked the real thing. I’m no expert pattern grader but if you’re interested in trying, I think a skirt is the easiest.
How I grade a skirt:
Don’t alter any centre seams – you’re likely to throw out the grain line and the skirt will never sit correctly. Just increase the side seams equally. So if you need an extra 2 inches, add half an inch at the side seams; that gives you an inch at each side. Take a look at one of the commercial multi-sized patterns and see how their size variations are done and how they keep the shape- an easy way to learn.
There are no hip or waist measurements provided with the pattern – the instructions say to pin the pattern pieces together before you start to check the pattern will fit. The rest of the fitting is done after cutting out – I guess even old sheets were valuable in the 1930s and not to be cut up for toiles as I have done.
The main difficulty with the skirt pattern is the pleat in the centre front. The instructions say to press it to one side and that’s all. That’s not enough because the pleat would sag unless sewn in place. Sewing it in place would require a line of stitching showing on the outside but just on one side of the centre seam.
I can find no reference to a single front pleat done this way in 1930s sewing books and I think it would look awful. I hope the 1934 magazine readers were not disappointed in their suit. Maybe they did the same as me: I’ve turned it into an inverted pleat as described in The Art of Needlecraft by RK & MIR Polkinghorne (1934). It works on the toile.
EmilyAnn is sewing 1930s too. Take a look at her pattern – made by draping – here.